California: 21 Shot, 11 Fatally, and 1 School Bomb Attempt During Week of Widespread Violence

The state with the most strict gun control in the nation, California, is giving Chicago a run for their money.  In the past seven days, they have seen three horrific shootings taking 11 lives and injuring 21 as well as a school bombing attempt that was foiled by the groundskeeper.

On Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 a 16 year old boy used a .45 semi-automatic handgun to open fire at his Santa Clarita, CA high school.  He murdered two students and wounded three others before taking his own life. The shooter’s father had died in 2016 and had a history of domestic violence in the home prior to his death.  It has been reported that at one time law enforcement legally confiscated six firearms from the father based on their ability to track the serial numbers to him through California’s “this-is-not-a-registry” program.  It is now being reported that the firearm used in the school shooting was a privately manufactured firearm that did not have a serial number. It is not known where he obtained it.

Another horrific incident took place in San Diego, CA on Saturday, Nov 16, 2019.  During this massacre, a father used a handgun to kill his wife, three of their children, and then himself.  Another child survived and was last reported to be in critical condition. In this tragic incident, the mother had filed for a restraining order just days before but it is unclear if it was ever served, although a restraining order is nothing more than a piece of paper.

Only one day later in Fresno, CA on Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 a family was gathered in a backyard watching a football game when two unknown suspects entered the yard through the back fence and opened fire in to the group.  Four people were killed and six others wounded.  It is reported that the family was part of the Hmong community, and possibly the attack was related to a violent Hmong gang.  The perpetrators are still at large.

To finish off the violent week, on Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 a homemade bomb was found and defused at a San Jose, CA high school.  A groundskeeper found the device in the bushes right next to the school.  The school was placed in lockdown, administrative offices were evacuated, and a bomb squad was called in.  After some time the bomb was rendered safe and evacuations of the entire campus began.  Bomb dogs were brought in and area was cleared.  There are no suspects at this time.

Wow, what a terrible week for a state who continues to add more gun control laws on top of more gun control laws.  A state that has had a “Red Flag” law in place since 2014 and just recently passed legislation making that particular law so extreme even the ACLU opposed it.  In fact, California just added seven new anti-gun laws to their already extensive roster.

These atrocities are not supposed to happen in California.  They have “the laws”, ya know!  

As expected, national gun control advocates are already screaming for an assault weapons ban and expanded background checks because of the incidents I listed above.  Never mind California requires background checks on everything right down to ammo.  And each of these incidents used handguns, not so-called “assault weapons”, well, except for the homemade bomb.

Although honestly, I think this week of violence tells a much more important story, one that gun rights activists such as myself have been trying to help people understand.  Until we get to the root of the violence, it will not stop.  

And it’s even bigger than that.  Lawmakers need to stop grouping together violent crimes under the umbrella of “gun violence” or “mass shootings”.  It does a disservice to the victims.  It derails meaningful conversation and real solution seeking.

Let’s look at school shootings for example.  When will we start asking the hard questions about what is happening in schools that makes these children want to execute their classmates and teachers?  Why have suicide rates among children, teens, and young adults skyrocketed?  Why are our children choosing death?  These are questions those seeking gun control don’t ask.  They can’t, because it distracts from their heartless goal of disarming citizens.  When I talk with gun grabbers or law makers pushing for more gun control, I often start with the premise that we all agree on the problem, and I mean that.  The problem: school shootings are horrific and heartbreaking and we want to see them end.  We just disagree on the solutions.  The fact that we now have to worry about homemade bombs showing up at schools is a example of why it’s so critical we get to the root cause rather than simply making laws requiring the locking up of guns (which hasn’t stopped school shooters in the past) or making Red Flag laws that clearly have done nothing to prevent tragedy in California.

What about domestic violence?  The motives behind domestic violence murder and murder-suicide are extremely different than school shootings, or public mass shootings, or gang or drug related shootings.  Once again, grouping them in some ambiguous term called “gun violence” and assuming just another gun control law will help is downright dangerous.  Domestic violence is incredibly tricky because the victims are often afraid to leave, and when they do, they are sometimes in extreme danger.  This is why many victims have chosen firearm ownership and training when deciding to leave.  But it also poses yet another potential dangerous aspect to poorly written Red Flag laws because domestic violence perpetrators can actually use these laws to disarm their victims.

As for gang related shootings, tackling this epidemic is troubling as these people thrive on crime. No law will stop them. And again the solution to gang violence is very different than the solution to school shootings or domestic violence.

So, let’s start talking about solutions.  What do you think the solutions are?  Leave them in the comments. 

 

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Debunking CBS “60 Minutes” Segment On Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO Law

It seems a day doesn’t go by that we’re not debunking more lies and half truths coming from the mainstream media.  The latest is a 60 Minutes segment that aired Sunday.  This segment titled “A look at Red Flag laws and the battle over one in Colorado” is chock full of inaccurate facts, omissions, and misinformation.  We go over those below.

To watch the full segment, you will have to visit the CBS website and view it there.  It is 14 minutes long and free to watch.

You can watch a quick preview of the segment here:

Our take:

1.) There have not been 366 mass shootings this year (learn more: www.rallyforourrights.com/we-are-being-lied-to-about-mass-shootings-again)

2.) California passed their Red Flag law in 2014, not 2016.  Now this is a minor discrepancy, but something 60 Minutes absolutely should have gotten correct.  If they are going to flub on such a simple fact, what else will they get wrong?  Do they not know how to use Google?

3.) Connecticut had a Red Flag law in place when Sandy Hook happened. Theirs was enacted in 1999. Sandy Hook happened in 2012 and was NOT the catalyst to write the law as the segment implies.

4.) Law enforcement is not the only entity who can petition the courts. Spouses, ex-spouses, roommates, former roommates, any relative or step-relative, a Tinder date gone wrong, or someone you had an affair with are all also people who can petition the courts for a Red Flag ERPO.   If you don’t fall in to the insanely broad range of people the law defines as “family members”, you can then simply go to a law enforcement officer and have them file the petition for you.

5.) The temporary orders are granted based on a preponderance of evidence – even when law enforcement files the petition.  Preponderance quite literally means the more convincing evidence, yet the person being accused is not present at the hearing and doesn’t know it’s taking place, therefore cannot present any evidence at all.  The accuser will ALWAYS present the more convincing evidence. How will any of these ever be denied?

5.) It’s despicable how Sheriff Tony Spurlock said “this is a tool to take away guns” then turns around and says “this isn’t about taking away guns, it’s about getting people the help they need” when there is absolutely NO mental health component to the Colorado law.

6.) Watching the Zackari Parrish footage has us wondering how that is any different than serving a Red Flag warrant? How would the outcome change? Also, if they just left him alone that night, what would have happened? Why did Spurlock send his deputies into what he knew could be a gun fight with soft body armor?

7.) Sheriff Steve Reams was thoughtful, reasonable and great in pointing out that we need to be helping people, not simply removing the tool that could do harm. We are thankful for him.

8.) They omit the fact that more than 50 of Colorado’s 64 sheriffs oppose the law as written, as does the Denver Police Union and the Aurora Police Union.

Learn all about Colorado’s Red Flag law here.

 

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They’re Coming For Your AR-15s and AK-47s Even Though Handguns Are Used In Nearly All Gun Crimes

AR’s, AK’s, and assault rifles, oh my!

If you watched the last two Democratic Presidential Debates you heard how every candidate wants to get “weapons of war” off the streets in an effort to tackle what they call our country’s “gun violence” epidemic.  These candidates quickly make it clear when they say weapons of war, they mean AR-15s and AK-47s .  Beto O’Rourke even said he plans to have the police go door to door to confiscate these terrifying guns from those who refuse to cooperate with a mandatory buyback, backing up his “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” promise.

It’s unclear if these candidates are clueless as to how infrequently rifles such as AR-15s and AK-47s are actually used in gun crime, or if they are using these scary sounding trigger words to garner support from a populace that is being brainwashed to believe these particular firearms are responsible for a grossly inflated number of mass shootings. My guess is it’s a combination of the two.

If you haven’t yet learned how the gun grabbers are inflating these mass shooting numbers, you must read this article.

Our research team dug into the latest FBI report on gun deaths and put together some very telling charts.  This first one shows exactly how insignificant rifles are in the larger picture, and in fact, up until 2015, shotguns have been used in more murders than rifles.

Look closely, there are four lines in this graph…and the rifles line is so insignificant it can barely be seen.  

 

In addition, our research team took it one step further to look at the alleged “gun violence” epidemic and how it relates to rifles.  This chart shows that even these small numbers have been declining for years, and continue to do so.

 

Here’s another graph that shows where the firearm murder rate sits compared to all murders via other methods. It’s clear that both have been steadily trending downward for years, and that the firearm murder rate follows an overall murder trend, again emphasizing that the problem is violence, and not the tool one wishes to be violent with.

 

Bottom line: “Assault Weapons” Bans or mandatory buybacks are nothing but knee-jerk, virtue signaling reactions.

Just say NO.

 

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The Delusion of California Gun Control

 

California Governor Gavin Newsom is like the rooster in the fable who says, “Look how wonderful I am. When I crow in the morning, that’s the reason the sun rises.” Simply put, he’s too delusional to see the coincidence.

Governor Newsom just signed 15 new gun related bills into law. During the signing he had this to say:

“California has outperformed the rest of the nation, because of our gun safety laws, in reducing the gun murder rate substantially compared to the national reduction. No state does it as well or comprehensively as the state of California, and we still have a long way to go.”

He also added that between 1993 and 2017, the latest available, there was a 62 percent decline in the gun murder rate in California, nearly double the 34 percent nationally.  What he fails to mention is that in 1993 California’s gun murder rate was well above the national average.  In 1993 the gun homicide rate in California was 9.6 per 100,000 people, while nationally it sat at 6.75 per 100,000.  In 2017 California landed at 3.64, just slightly below the national average of 4.6.  Their decline was in line with the national trend, but steeper due to the how high it was initially.

Likewise, Newsom’s claim that California’s drop in gun homicide has anything to do with the state’s ever more restrictive gun laws. Nationally, the 34 percent drop in gun homicide is the consequence of the crack epidemic declining since 1993. As to California’s 64 percent drop in gun homicide, that’s the result of both the state getting a handle on the drug trade, but more significantly, the effect of gentrification from the mountains of cash brought in by Silicon Valley and high-tech. Large swaths of California real estate have been upscaled and where rich people move in, gang-bangers and drug dealers get pushed out. East Palo Alto, one of the most dangerous communities in California, has been swallowed up by Silicon Valley and no big surprise, its violent crime rate has plummeted. Los Angeles has been similarly gentrified. Boyle Heights, another neighborhood notorious for gangs and violent crime, has been recast as a trendy hotspot for the very well-to-do, and its violent crime and gun homicides have gone down.

So if more restrictive gun laws are really the answer, let’s look at two other states that have pursued aggressive gun-control measures like California’s.

From 1993 to 2017, Illinois experienced a 34.9 percent drop in gun homicide–in keeping with the national average. And Chicago is the murder capital of America.

From 1993 to 2017, Maryland experienced a 15.25 percent drop in gun homicide–well short of the national average by half. And Baltimore is the most dangerous city in America.

The big difference between Maryland, Illinois and California? Neither Illinois or Maryland have seen big influxes of cash and gentrification like California.

Let’s look at another telling example about the impact of gentrification: New York City.

In 1911, the city passed the Sullivan Act which required that anyone who possessed a handgun had to get a permit issued by the police and to have all handguns registered.

What was the result? Fast forward to 1981, which was the most violent year in New York City’s history with over 2,000 murders, mostly by handguns. The time was known as the “Death Wish” years when the city was one of the most dangerous in the world.

Now New York City is one of the safest? What happened? The government got serious about stopping organized crime and drug dealers but more importantly, it was New York’s “broken windows” policy. The city cleaned itself up. Research any article about the New York City turn-around and gentrification was key. And you’ll be hard pressed to find any mention that gun control was a factor. Why? Because gun control only affects law-abiding gun owners and they are not the cause of violent crime.

Let’s throw more cold water on the more-gun-control-makes-us-safer myth. Let’s look at Colorado. From 1993 to 2017, the state experienced a 26.2 percent drop in gun homicide. (You have to consider that Colorado was safe to begin with compared to California, Illinois, or Maryland.) In 2014, Colorado enacted two of California’s hallowed gun-control measures, Universal Background Checks and the High-Capacity Magazine Ban. Since then, Colorado’s gun homicide rate has increased by a whopping 47.6 percent. So anyone who claims that gun control has made the state any safer is as delusional as the Gavin Newsom rooster.

What else Gavin Newsom fails to mention is that despite California’s very restrictive gun-control environment, four of the most publicized recent mass-shootings happened on his turf: San Bernardino, Thousand Oaks, the Poway Synagogue, and Gilroy. And three of the most dangerous cities in America are in California: Stockton, San Bernardino, and Oakland. That’s nothing to crow about.

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We Are Being Lied To About Mass Shootings AGAIN – And Everyone Should Care

On the heels of three shocking mass shootings in the United States in the past month, we’re once again bombarded with stories from mainstream media with headlines like “There have been more mass shootings than days in 2019” or “The El Paso shooting is the 249th mass shooting of 2019”.  The media loves to make evil people famous. These stories quickly go viral and concerned citizens start calling for more gun control, as if almost on cue. I can’t say I blame them. If I thought what happened in at the El Paso, Texas Walmart had happened every single day in this country over the past nine months, I’d be pretty freaked out too!

On September 1st, 2019 – the day after the heartbreaking Odessa, Texas shooting rampage – CBS News, Insider News, KUNC, and several other mainstream news outlets released articles claiming that there have been anywhere from 283 to 313 mass shootings in the United States during 2019. I decided to look into this and what was found surprised even me.  The American people are being grossly lied to – and they should care.

Society Is Being Lied To About Mass Shootings - And Everyone Should Care

In order to determine how many mass shootings there are, we need to know the definition of a mass shooting. Finding that definition seems easy enough, right?  Think again.  There are actually many definitions of “mass shooting” and most seem to be arbitrarily made up to fit the narrative an organization or publication wishes to push.

Mother Jones defines mass shooting as: “Indiscriminate rampages in public places resulting in four or more victims killed by the attacker, excluding the death of the attacker.”

The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as: “Four or more shot or killed, not including the shooter. They also do not remove any subcategory of shooting – meaning they don’t exclude, set apart, caveat, or differentiate victims based upon the circumstances in which they were shot – including crime, gang activity, and domestic/familial incidents.”

The “experts” at Reddit have decided to make up their own definition, therefore Reddit defines a mass shooting as:  “Four plus people injured or killed by firearm, including the gunman.”

Finally we come to the Congressional Research Service’s definition: “The incident takes place in a public area involving four or more deaths—not including the gunman, the shooter selects victims indiscriminately, the violence in these incidents are not a means to an end.”  It should be noted that CRS breaks up shootings involving four or more individuals as public, familial, and felony (robbery, gang activity, etc).  This is because the motives behind each vary greatly.

To make matters even more confusing, the FBI has separate definitions for “mass murder” and “active shooter”.

There are several inconsistencies between each of these definitions. For such a severe issue that allegedly only occurs in the United States, why do we not have a universal definition for this type of event? And why is it the government can agree on the definition, but the gun grabbers won’t use it?

For the sake of this investigation, we used the definition put forth by the Congressional Research Service.  The CRS’s website explains that it “works exclusively for the United States congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and members of both members of the house and senate, regardless of party affiliation.” The website further explains that the CRS  is a “shared staff to congressional committees and members of congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process.” To put it simply, congress uses the CRS’s research to develop policy and create laws.

THE LIE

Now that we’re “armed” with the facts we need, lets dissect the statistics being pushed by the media.

The stats used in the news sources cited above stating there have been 283 mass shootings thus far in 2019 are from the Gun Violence Archive.  Okay, let’s look a little deeper into the GVA. The mission statement on their website states it is a “non-profit corporation formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun related violence in the United States.”  It should be noted this organization is tied to the Gun Violence Memorial, who includes perpetrators and even most recently the Odessa, Texas and Dayton, OH mass shooters, as gun violence victims because they were killed by firearm, even though justified.

We dug into Gun Violence Archive website’s “mass shooting” report for 2019. We filtered the list by lowest deaths to highest. Immediately 10 out of the 12 pages were disqualified, as there were between 0 and 3 deaths per incident. That means right away, 272 incidents out of 294 do not qualify as a mass shooting by definition. In fact, 148 of these incidents resulted in zero deaths.

That leaves only two pages to dig through. The most common theme with the remaining list of incidents is that they were primarily either family or domestic violence related, or drug/gang related. Using the definition used by the CRS, that removes all but nine shootings that actually count as a public mass shooting. Yes folks, there have only been NINE mass shootings this year in the United States – not 283.  

Nine mass shootings compared to 283 is a substantial difference. The media easily plays off the ignorance of the public, taking advantage of the fact that there is not a universal definition of “mass shooting”, and blowing up an issue that desperately needs cured, but solutions are not found with half truths and intentionally misleading information.

Here are those nine:

Sebring, Florida – January 23
Palm Spring, California – February 3
Aurora, Illinois – February 15
Virginia Beach, Virginia – May 31
White Swan, Washington – June 8
Gilroy, California – July 28
El Paso, Texas – August 3
Dayton, Ohio – August 4
Odessa, Texas – August 31

(In an effort to not publish the shooters names, we are not including that information. But a quick search by date and location here will provide more details into these events.)

WHY THIS MATTERS

This clearly shows that the media has a blatant disregard for the truth.  They either have an ulterior motive in what they report, or they are too lazy to verify what is being given to them.  It’s likely a bit of both, but the former is rather frightening.  They are manipulating the general populace by creating hysteria through a skewed mass shooter narrative. This in turn will influence public opinion, and ultimately public policy. Additionally, combining domestic violence and gang/drugs into public mass shootings is irresponsible. Each of these need addressed, but the motives are so different, which means the answers are too. Grouping it all into one term is as much an injustice to the victims and potential victims as grouping suicide into “gun violence.”

 

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Gun Violence Website Honors Odessa, TX Shooter As “Gun Violence” Victim

I’ve started making it a habit to check the “Gun Violence Memorial” website anytime I hear of a justified death by firearm.  These gun grabbers waste no time adding evil perpetrators who were killed in self defense to their website. Gotta pump those numbers up, right?  Today I checked for the murderer from Saturday’s Odessa, TX shooting spree and as expected, they’ve set up a page for him, even allowing people to light virtual candles in his honor.

I’ve written about this disturbing “Gun Violence Memorial” website before, most recently when they honored the Dayton, OH shooter as well.  They claim to be about honoring victims of gun violence, keeping daily stats, and allowing people to light candles for lost loved ones.  On the surface it sounds genuine, until you start digging deeper and realize they also “honor” perpetrators who are killed justifiably, whether by their victims or by law enforcement.  If a gun is used, they’re honored.

This website gets their information from the “Gun Violence Archive” another website which on the surface sounds honest, but again, they also count perpetrators as gun violence victims to pump up their numbers, as well as create their own definitions of “mass shooting” to drive hysteria and instill fear. Did you hear the recent mass shooting number for 2019 as 283?  Yeah, they got that from them.  We’ve debunked the Gun Violence Archive’s mass shooting numbers before (and I’ll be doing it again soon).  Click here to read more on that.

I wrote last year about the memorializing of a 60 year old man who was killed in self defense by a 23 year old woman while he was bashing her head into the guardrail during a Washington road rage incident.  In that instance, eventually the push back to the “Gun Memorial” site was so massive they removed him.  Good.  They should remove Seth Ator too.  In fact, they should remove anyone who was justifiably killed by firearm.  Guns also save lives.  They did for that young woman in Washington, and they did this past weekend in Odessa, TX.

Real, honest conversations need to be had about these tragedies, but when those wishing to disarm us use such dishonest tactics to sway public opinion, they can’t be taken seriously.  And I must ask the question: does memorializing mass shooters lead to more mass shooters?  

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Gun Memorial Website Honors Dayton, OH Mass Shooter As Gun Violence Victim

Gun Memorial Website Honors Dayton, OH Mass Shooter As Gun Violence Victim Connor Betts

I’ve written about this disturbing “Gun Violence Memorial” website before.  A website that claims to be about honoring victims of gun violence, keeping daily stats, and allowing people to light candles for lost loved ones.  On the surface it sounds genuine, until you start digging deeper and realize they also “honor” perpetrators who are killed justifiably, whether by their victims or by law enforcement.  This website gets their information from the “Gun Violence Archive” another website which on the surface sounds honest, but again, they also count perpetrators as gun violence victims to pump up their numbers. Did you hear the recent mass shooting number for 2019 as 251?  Yeah, they got that from them.  We’ve debunked the Gun Violence Archive’s mass shooting numbers before (and I’ll be doing it again soon).  Click here to read more on that.

It should have come as no surprise to me that one of the latest “gun violence victims” listed on the Gun Memorial site is 24 year old Connor Betts, the mass murderer who killed 9 and injured 27 when he opened fire at popular nightlife area of Dayton, OH this past weekend.  Betts was killed within minutes by police – with a firearm – and because the officer used a firearm, Betts is now another stat, another “gun violence” victim that the anti-gun left is using to push their agenda.  This particular scenario is especially disgusting as they are also using the real victims as well to push for all sorts of gun control, including dangerous “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order laws.  

Gun Memorial Website Honors Dayton, OH Mass Shooter As Gun Violence Victim Connor Betts

But honestly, it did come as a surprise to even me that this anti-gun group is so hell bent on twisting their numbers to fit their narrative that they would memorialize this particular evil perpetrator.  At the time of this writing, three people have already lit a candle for Betts.  And I must ask the question: does memorializing mass shooters lead to more mass shooters?  

The Denver Westword often uses this same website to validate their stories about gun ownership and/or violence.  And they should be ashamed.

I wrote last year about the memorializing of a 60 year old man who was killed in self defense by a 23 year old woman while he was bashing her head into the guardrail during a Washington road rage incident.  In that instance, eventually the push back to the “Gun Memorial” site was so massive they removed him.  Good.  They should remove Connor Betts too.  In fact, they should remove anyone who was justifiably killed by firearm.  Guns also save lives.  They did for that young woman in Washington, and they did this past weekend in Dayton, OH.

Why “Red Flag” ERPO Laws Are Not The Solution To Mass Shootings

Are "Red Flag" ERPO Laws The Solution To Mass Shootings?

After every public mass shooting, the call for gun control reaches a new pitch.  Those on the anti-gun left have gone so far as suggesting banning nearly every modern day semi-automatic firearm and having police go door to door confiscating them.  And those on the right are calling for “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order laws in every state.

But is this really the answer?  The suggestion of a door to door gun confiscation would be laughable if these people were joking- but they aren’t.  How any politician believes using what they refer to as “weapons of war” to confiscate “weapons of war” will not turn into a war, is beyond me.  Even the anti-gun, Bloomberg funded website “The Trace” admits there are at bare minimum 20 million civilian owned, modern day sporting rifles in the US, and nearly all of them have never been used to commit a crime.

So what about “Red Flag” laws?  Let’s take a quick look at Red Flag laws and what they do…

“Red Flag” laws are also called ERPO’s or Extreme Risk Protection Orders, a term coined by the anti-gun movement to deter from the negative reputation that came with “Red Flag” legislation.  Don’t be fooled though, they are the exact same thing.  Red Flag laws have actually been around since 1999, although they are quickly rising in popularity.  In fact, Connecticut had a Red Flag law in place when the Sandy Hook shooting happened and California had one in place at the time of the San Bernardino attack, the Thousands Oaks shooting, and the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.

The proponents and mainstream media will tell you Red Flag ERPO laws allow family or law enforcement to petition the court to have the firearms removed from someone who is proven to be a danger to themselves or others.

To the general public, this sounds pretty benign, and polling reflects that when the law is presented this way.

But what if I phrased it this way: It’s a law that allows an abusive ex to petition the court, over the phone, for $0, to have the firearms confiscated from an individual they wish to disarm.  The petition is granted based on the lowest evidentiary threshold used in court, a preponderance of evidence (meaning there is a 51% chance that the accusation is true) and when the temporary order is issued by the court, it is coupled with a search warrant.  This means the first time the accused even finds out these proceedings are taking place is when the police are at their door ready to raid their home prepared to take away their means of self defense against the same abusive ex who requested the ERPO – and possibly the means of defense for their children.

Because that is exactly what these laws do.  It is legalized swatting that can be done by a laundry list of family members, former and current roommates, and anyone you have ever been intimate with.  Don’t believe me?  Read through the 30+ pages of HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders that was just signed by the governor here in Colorado.

There is a big difference between supporting the concept of a Red Flag law, and supporting the actual legislation that is being passed. The devil is always in the details.

But do they work?

Well, we already pointed out above three mass shooting in California with one of the broadest Red Flag laws (right behind Colorado’s), as well as Sandy Hook in Connecticut.  So, no, they didn’t work to stop killers in those instances and there is zero evidence they have thwarted any attacks elsewhere.

But what about suicide? Proponents will of course tell you yes, they work.  States like Indiana pointed to stats showing suicide by firearm was decreasing.  Well, turns out it wasn’t.  It was still increasing but not at the projected rate, so they consider that a win.  In addition, suicide by other methods has skyrocketed and Indiana has dropped from 19th in the country for mental health in 2011, to 45th in 2015, and in both 2016 and 2017 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all residents over all demographics, and the leading cause for certain demographics.  Their Red Flag law was enacted in 2005.

Why are we seeing these results?  Because these laws have nothing to do with mental health, and everything to do with taking away the guns.  The bill sponsors here in Colorado even admitted that during the month long debate before the bill passed by ONE SINGLE vote with every Republican and three Democrats voting against it.  Watch the video here:

These laws are widely opposed by law enforcement, as they realize the danger they will put their officers and citizens in, as well as the unconstitutionality of the law.  In Colorado, more than 50 of the 64 sheriffs opposed the legislation, as did the Denver and Aurora police unions.  The ACLU has opposed legislation in other states such as Rhode Island.  And people have been killed having these Red Flag orders served, such as happened in Maryland when a woman ERPO’d her brother after a family dispute. She later admitted she did not believe he would have hurt a fly, but he was killed when he refused to turn over his guns. Trading death for death is never the answer. The lives of gun owners do not matter less than the lives of anyone else.

We should also always remember in the “do something” era, passing feel good, knee jerk, virtue signaling legislation is a waste of valuable time and resources that could be used to actually DO SOMETHING, for example Maine passed a completely different proper adjudication law to address the same issue.  You can learn about that by listening to this podcast here.

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Parkland One Year Later: The Government Has Blood On Their Hands

Parkland One Year Later: The Government Has Blood On Their Hands Rally for our Rights Colorado
Today marks one year since the United States saw a school massacre that broke the hearts of a nation, ignited a fire in new activists, and if you’re paying attention – shattered your trust in government.  That massacre being the Parkland, Florida school shooting where 19 year old Nikolas Cruz took the lives of 14 classmates and three teachers.

On February 14th, 2018 Nikolas Cruz took an Uber with a backpack equipped with an AR-15, grenades, and ammo to his old school.  He walked past the school security monitor, Andrew Medina, who knew he wasn’t allowed on school grounds and found his presence “suspicious”, although did nothing.  Cruz walked past the building where school resource officer, Scot Peterson, was talking with another student.  Peterson was employed as a sheriff’s deputy with the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, but his charge was to protect the students at Parkland High School.  It should also be noted that Peterson was the only armed person permitted to be on school grounds.  Cruz walked through the unsecured school doors into his former high school from which he’d been expelled.  In this gun free zone not one person attempted to stop him, nor was there any security measures in place.  At 2:21 pm he opened fire.  It was a rampage that would last at least 20 minutes before Cruz simply walked out of the school and into a nearby neighborhood, where he was eventually captured and confessed.

Heartbreaking.  How can this kind of tragedy happen?  It shouldn’t have.  And it wouldn’t have if the government had done their job.  

The Parkland High School Shooting spurred a gun control movement this country hasn’t seen in decades.  March for our Lives formed under umbrella groups Moms Demand Action and Everytown For Gun Safety, all which are funded by Michael Bloomberg, have taken to the streets and the halls of congress.  Frantic and misguided students, parents, teachers and individuals have exploited the Parkland tragedy calling for massive gun control across the nation – from city ordinances to federal laws.  What they should be acknowledging instead is the complete and utter government failure that allowed Parkland to happen in the first place. More laws were not needed. The current laws simply needed to be enforced.

The government has blood on their hands, and as a mother I say that unapologetically.  

• Nikolas Cruz was not a stranger to Broward County law enforcement.  In fact, police had been called to his home at least 37 times over the course of only a few years. 37 TIMES!  The reasons ranged from harming animals (shooting chickens with a pellet gun), assault on his mother, assault on his siblings, harming himself, threatening to harm himself, threatening to harm others, and more.  Not once was he charged.  Not once did the police take any action, even though action on almost all of these would have required his name to be entered into the NICS database preventing him from legally being able to purchase a firearm.

• In addition to the 37 reports law enforcement did follow up on (although ultimately ignored in the end), in February 2016 a tipster called Broward Sheriff’s Office to say Cruz ‘could be a school shooter in the making’ and had been making threats on Instagram, but deputies did not write up a report on that warning, instead they forwarded it to School Resource Officer Scot Peterson. That report came just weeks after a relative called urging Broward Sheriff’s Office to investigate if he should have the weapons he had, and possibly seize them.  In the end, both reports were ignored.

• Late in 2016 a “peer counselor” reported to School Resource Officer Scot Peterson that Cruz had possibly ingested gasoline in a suicide attempt, was cutting himself and wanted to buy a gun. A mental health counselor advised against involuntarily committing Cruz.  In Florida, such action can be done under the Baker Act, which allows the state to involuntarily commit individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others. People committed under the Baker Act are legally barred from obtaining firearms.  This event was followed up on by Florida Department of Children and Families, and even though he had fresh cuts from “cutting” and his mother shared her fear that he constantly talked of wanting to buy a firearm, he was deemed stable and, once again, ignored.

• In September 2017 a YouTube user named “nikolas cruz” postsed a comment stating he wanted to become a “professional school shooter.” The comment was reported to the FBI in Mississippi, but was not followed up on.

• In November 2017 a family member called Broward County Sheriff’s Office to report that Nikolas Cruz was dangerous, had made legitimate threats, and had weapons.  Her concerns were ignored when Cruz told them he’d give the weapons to a family friend.  This again would have been a legitimate use of the Baker Act.

• Also in November 2017, after Cruz’ mother died, he was taken in by a Palm Beach County family.  They contacted the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office to report a fight between Cruz and their 22 year old son. A member of the family said that Cruz had threatened to “get his gun and come back” and that he had “put the gun to others’ heads in the past.” The family did not want him arrested, so the report was ignored.

And again in November 2017 a caller from Massachusetts reported that Cruz is collecting guns and knives and was threatening to be a “school shooter in the making.” A Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy advised the caller to contact the Palm Beach sheriff.  If the caller ever did contact Palm Beach, it’s not on record.

• In January 5, 2018 a report came in to the FBI’s tip line claiming that Cruz has “a desire to kill people” and could potentially conduct a school shooting. The information was never passed on to the FBI’s office in Miami.  The FBI has even publicly acknowledged their failure.

And these are only the failures BEFORE the incident.  Since the incident it has come to light that:

• The only other armed person on school grounds, resource officer Scot Peterson, hid behind a concrete wall during the rampage.

• School Security Monitor, Andrew Medina, had a long history of sexually harassing female students, all which was swept under the rug.

• Broward County Sheriff took 26 minutes to enter to the school.

• Nikolas Cruz was easily able to walk out of the school, blending in with other students and walked into a nearby neighborhood, where he was later arrested.

• After a lawsuit against the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, the school district, and Parkland High, a judge determined that NONE of these entities had a responsibility to protect the students.

You would think after all of this, those closest to the tragedy would be asking why – and how – this kind of failure is possible.  You would think that in the change they wish to see, the government would be the last place they’d be seeking it.  I mean, what makes them think anything will change?  History shows it won’t and it doesn’t, and, in fact,  nearly every mass shooting the US has seen government failure like this exist behind it.

Even last summer during a counter protest Rally for our Rights held while March for our Lives was staging a “March on the NRA”, a conversation afterward between myself and the organizers of the other event resulted in agreement that these failures exist, and that before we discuss new laws, we should be discussing why our current laws are failing.

What is the solution?  We need to acknowledge our society has a violence problem and a suicide problem, but to call it a gun problem is disingenuous.  To create gun control laws that disarm and effect only the law abiding is a false sense of security.  Mental health is a strong component of this issue.  Any individual who will walk into a school and execute students is mentally ill, even if not previously diagnosed.

We have soft targets in schools such as Parkland, where someone like Cruz can simply wander in with nothing in his way, and not one person inside the school is legally given the ability to defend the students they care for as their own.  Programs such as FASTER Colorado provides no cost or low cost intensive training to school staff who voluntarily choose to be armed and is approved by their school board.  They are also provided with deep concealment training, trauma training, and psychological training.

In the end, we will never eradicate evil, but we can defend ourselves from it.  

 

A Pro-Gun Minority Calls Out Tom’s and Gifford’s On Their Gun Safety Town Hall Agenda

Tom's Giffords Town Hall Denver Rally For Our Rights Colorado
On Saturday January 26, I attended the Gun Safety Town Hall held in the Washington Street Community Center of Denver. I’ll admit I approached with trepidation, into the belly as it were.

The anti-gun lobby is flush with cash and it shows. They can hire expert IT types to exploit social media and develop catchy websites, and they can afford big vehicles with custom paint jobs. My RSVP invitation was seamlessly handled through Eventbrite.

To enter the venue, I had to pass through unarmed security using wand metal detectors. Inside I couldn’t tell who were event sponsors or volunteers because they all wore identical flashy badges. Video cameras flanked the stage, complete with a big banner. About a hundred and fifty or so from the public filed in to occupy the rows of folding chairs arranged in the main meeting room. The crowd included the usual suspects: a few middle-aged women in MDA or Cease Fire Colorado t-shirts. One man wore a Parkland High School t-shirt, although I never found out if he hailed from there or wore it out of solidarity.

The event was moderated by a rep from the Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, who shared the dais with an anti-gun writer from New York City, someone from Tom’s Shoes (who was footing the bill, pun intended), Congressman Joe Neguse from Colorado, and Tom Mauser. The town hall began with the speakers discussing mass shooting to include the usual hate speech against the NRA.

The actual point of the town hall was to drum up support for HR 8, the new bill for expanded background checks, advertised as needed to close the infamous gun-show loophole, because as you all know, as we were told, any Colorado resident can simply drive to New Mexico or Wyoming and buy a gun, no questions asked. Ignoring of course that such an act is already a violation of federal law.

The town hall was scheduled to last an hour and at the halfway point, the public was invited to approach a microphone and share. One young woman said she was a Parkland survivor. A couple of older speakers expressed their gratitude for the campaign’s effort to end gun violence. A young man said he was from New Hampshire and rambled on about that state’s proliferation of guns, but I couldn’t tell if he was anti- or pro-gun.

Finally it was my turn. My question was that since both the DOJ and the FBI have established a direct correlation between drug trafficking and gun violence, how come the Giffords campaign, or MDA, or Everytown for Gun Safety, or any of the prevent-gun-violence groups do not once mention drug trafficking as responsible for gun violence?

I could tell my question blind-sided them. The only one who answered was the woman from the Giffords campaign, who said that they are focused on gun violence, not drug trafficking. My rebuttal was that even the CDC concludes that the highest risk factor for homicides, especially those with guns, is drug trafficking. I stressed that the anti-gun people were ignoring one of the biggest causes of gun violence. Though I went way over my three-minute time limit, the brief back-and-forth exposed a gaping hole in their agenda.

After the meeting, I did attempt to debate HR 8 with the woman from the Giffords campaign, but she wouldn’t let the facts interfere with her talking points. She’s paid big bucks to toe the company line, not acknowledge the truth or promote effective policy that provides for public safety.

Interestingly, on my way out, one of the event’s African-American volunteers, a big man named Stevon, congratulated me for my comments. Before the town hall, he had brought up the same points, which were summarily dismissed.

So what did I learn?

ONE: these public venues are a great opportunity to make our case. Unlike in social media or through the news outlets, the anti-gunners can’t easily delete our comments. They have to respond.

TWO: focus on an issue that exposes the weaknesses of their agenda. What I noted at this town hall but didn’t mention was that they got everyone stirred up over mass shootings, then segued into expanded background checks even though they admitted that these checks wouldn’t stop mass shootings. It was a bait-and-switch that needed to be spot lighted.

THREE: we can’t rant about rights because that gets little traction with this crowd. You have to call them out on their failures to address the big problems stoking gun violence such as drug trafficking, gangs, and incompetent bureaucrats. Use government sources such as the DOJ, FBI, and CDC to back you up.

FOUR: we must actively engage the various communities to make our case. For example, meet with communities of color to explain that since less than one percent of violent criminals get their guns from a gun show, and more than forty percent get their guns through the black market, then why are we wasting time on expanded background checks to close the gun show loophole? Emphasize that when the local government and the police pursue effective programs that address violent crime, as opposed to gun control, then homicides decrease and as a result we get safer communities.

FIVE: meet with our legislators and make our case. Make them explain why they endorse flawed proposals while ignoring effective policy.

Preserving our Second Amendment rights will take work, but we have truth and reality on our side.